Reflections

The following are reflections on the exhibits in the slave trade exhibition held in Parliament in 2007.

Baroness Young of Hornsey, 23 May 2007

"Some of the objects and images make me feel very emotional, especially the original items. Clarkson's chest of cultural artifacts and the instruments of enslavement, the image of the enslaved African woman tortured because she refused to dance, the first edition of Olaudah Equiano's book, the Manchester petition calling for abolition that was sent to the House of Lords - there is so much that will stay with me for a very long time."

David Prior, Assistant Clerk of the Records at the Parliamentary Archives

"We found the certificate about coffee-making at Westminster using our catalogue - only a few years ago identifying something like this would have been very difficult. The point is that it has such a resonance with our lives today - I buy a coffee every morning in a spot not a million miles from the location this document is referring to."

James Walvin, Emeritus Professor of History at York University

"Granville Sharp was a lonely figure in the campaign to defend exploited blacks in England and he became, in effect, the pioneer of the British abolition movement.

Similarly, Equiano stands out as a memorable personality - though not always recognised today. His was the voice of Africa in a movement dominated by British voices."

Rommi Smith, the parliamentary writer in residence for the exhibition that marked the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade

"When I look at the image of Olaudah Equiano, this dignified, intelligent, clever and courageous man, a revolutionary, I believe, who used his skill and wisdom to fight for the freedom of other Africans, I feel myself stand taller and pride writes itself along the length of my spine.

The sea of more than two thousand signatures signing their support for abolition, is deeply moving. Sometimes, I almost want to gather together all of spirits of those people who signed the petition and tell them how much their 'small act' had impact; but then I think somewhere, wherever they are, they already know that."

Related information

Access details of millions of records from both Houses and other historical material relating to Parliament.